Telecom stocks in focus after Trai releases subscriber data for December 2020

Representative image: Reuters

Representative image: Reuters

Telecom stocks were in focus on February 19 after the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) released the subscriber data for December 2020.

The country’s telecom subscriber base fell marginally to 1,173 million during the month, with Vodafone Idea and state-run telecom firms BSNL and MTNL losing the bulk of their customers, the data shows.

Bharti Airtel and Reliance Jio were the only gainers of new customers in December, a PTI report quoting the data said.

“The number of telephone subscribers in India decreased from 1,175.27 million at the end of November 2020 to 1,173.83 million at the end of December 2020,” Trai’s report said.

The mobile subscriber base declined to 1,153.77 million in December from 1,155.2 million in the previous month.

The dip was mainly due to Vodafone Idea losing over 5.69 million mobile customers. It was followed by BSNL, which lost over 2,52,501 subscribers, and MTNL lost 6,442 customers.

Bharti Airtel added more than 4 million new customers and Reliance Jio got 4,78,917 new customers.

Bharti Airtel led the market in the active subscriber base. The company reported 97.1 percent active subscribers in December. It was followed by Vodafone Idea with 90.26 percent and Reliance Jio with 80.23 percent.


At 1000 hours, the Bharti Airtel share price was up Rs 4.05, or 0.69 percent, at Rs 593.05. It touched an intraday high of Rs 594.45 and an intraday low of Rs 587.35.

Vodafone Idea was trading at Rs 11.63, up Rs 0.05, or 0.43 percent. It has touched an intraday high of Rs 11.70 and an intraday low of Rs 11.40.

Reliance Industries’ share price gained over a percent and was trading at Rs 2,088.80, up Rs 23.30. It has touched an intraday high of Rs 2,094.00 and an intraday low of Rs 2,058.

Analysts say that a tariff hike can be expected in the telecom sector soon as payment obligations by operators necessitated the need for average revenue per user (ARPU) expansion.

“Last few quarters have witnessed ARPU improvement, initially on the back of tariff hikes implemented in December 2019, followed by factors like healthy conversion of subscribers from 2G to 4G and consistent increase in usage of telecom services which result in tariff plan upgrades,” Ankit Jain, Assistant Vice President, ICRA Ltd, said.

Research and broking firm ICICIdirect has retained sell recommendation on Vodafone Idea with a target price of Rs 6 per share.

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